I currently teach three online courses through the University of Massachusetts. All are three undergraduate credits.
WRITING THE GRAPHIC NOVEL Register Now
A nuts-and-bolts look at comic books and graphic novels purely from the writer’s side. With ‘Making Comics’ by Scott McCloud as the basic text, we’ll look at panel descriptions that inspire visuals, character-driven dialogue, the seven types of relationship between words and pictures, the writer/artist relationship and more. In addition to various writing exercises, students will develop their own ideas from springboards into completed scripts. This is not a course about artwork, and requires no prior artistic training. It is also not a course about superheroes, but looks at the graphic novel as an open medium capable of engaging any type of literary effort. (Writing the Graphic Novel Syllabus)
WRITING FOR A LIVING Register Now
This is not a writing course or a support group for the care and feeding of the artistic soul. It is a nuts-and-bolts examination of the strategies and skills needed to present your books, articles, ideas, and/or yourself in a compelling and competitive manner to potential buyers. In a unique process, students will experience the dynamic from both sides. After developing their own queries (essentially 1-2 page project proposals), the class will be broken up into groups and tasked with evaluating those queries for acceptance and rejection. Along the way, we’ll discuss art and commerce, quality and marketability, the current e-upheaval in publishing, literary agents, self-publishing and read some rejection letters for works that have since become classics, like Moby Dick. Students will come away with a solid, critiqued query and an understanding of the process from both the writer’s and the publisher’s perspective. (Writing for a Living Syllabus)
PARANORMAL THINKING Register Now
The study of the paranormal, straddling the space between belief and science, brings to the fore the manner in which humans attempt to distinguish real from unreal. This course will not attempt to prove or disprove the existence of ghosts, UFOs or Big Foot, but, by exploring the history of the paranormal, its literature, science and pseudo-science, we will study its methodology, difficulties, and extraordinary emotional appeal. (Paranormal Syllabus)